Holiday cheer and this time of the year are often filled with celebration, friends, family and togetherness. It’s also filled with long “to-do” lists, stress, toxicity and unhealthy food. That’s usually the case with a “normal year,” but 2020 has been a little different from “normal.” We’ve had to pivot a great deal this year and we’re continuing to do so during the holiday season.
Instead of adding additional physical and emotional stress to your plate, try some of these tips for a happier and healthier holiday season. These tips can carry into the New Year as well.
Give Yourself the Gift of “Balance”
Ladies, this year has given us grace to “do it messy!” So, gone are the days of perfection and complete balance. Does that really even exist?
What I’m proposing is a complete mindset shift around how you honor your body and your self-care needs during the holiday season. Queens, this is your time to add even MORE self care and love! This is a time for giving, so how about you give yourself a gift that’s going to nourish you beyond the 10-minute sugar rush of that wretchedly unhealthy fruit cake your aunt likes to make.
Be mindful and intentional with your food choices
There is nothing wrong with enjoying good food during the holiday season. I love food and have no guilt or shame when enjoying nourishing foods that I love. Though things are different this year with parties, work events and gatherings with friends and family, we will still be around holiday food if you’re celebrating the season. With that being said, this should not be an opportunity to sabotage your goals and health between now and the New Year (or beyond).
If you find yourself grabbing junk food or guzzling down extra alcohol, ask yourself how you’re feeling. Are you stressed? Feeling anxious (I’ve been hearing this a lot lately)? Depressed? With this year especially, you’re not alone if you are feeling one or more of these feelings. Emotions play a huge role in our food (and alcohol) choices. Being in tune with your mindset, feelings and intentions will play a large part in your choices.
If you know you have an upcoming event or family gathering, make sure you eat something healthy and satisfying before you head out. While at your event, enjoy a little bit of something you’re craving or wanting to try and fill the rest of your plate with lean protein and veggies. You don’t have to feel deprived this holiday season, but don’t overdo it either.
Exercise is very important during the holiday season. Have you heard “endorphin’s make you happy?” It’s true! Not only is it important to get that booty moving when it’s cold outside (and year round), but it helps with your mood too! This is a great time to join a gym, start a new fitness class or find some new gal pals for accountability. During quarantine, I have been walking a lot and it’s been so nice to get out in nature for some fresh air and movement. Are you more of the “outdoorsy” type? Grab your skis or ice skates and bundle up for a fun event. There are many options (indoors and outdoors) this holiday season. Find what makes you happy and get others involved. Whatever you choose, keep it moving!
Find Time for Rest
Yes, exercise and movement are important but so is rest! Especially during the busy holiday season and winter months. Your body needs it and craves it during the winter season!!! Not only will you feel more refreshed, but it will help with your stress levels and keep you from making poor choices. If you’re finding it difficult to manage a rest and sleep schedule, you may need to make some changes in your routine. Sleep should be a priority; especially this time of the year. Try going to bed and waking up around the same time. Limit your television and technology viewing a few hours before bed. Relax in a hot epsom bath with some lavender and other oils. Grabbing a good book and cup of tea helps in the evening too. Again, find what works for you and make it a priority. Rest is not something that should be negotiable any time of year.
Bump Up the Self Care
If you’re one of my clients or follow me on social media, you know how much I stress Self Care. After learning the hard way of pouring from an empty cup, I’ve become a Self Care Queen! This is something I had to learn the hard way but it’s something I make a priority in my own lifestyle. It’s non-negotiable! Especially during the busy holiday season. Why? Because it’s SO important!
Women are the first ones to put themselves last! If you resonate with this statement, then you may need to ask yourself how much you’re adding self care into your lifestyle. A hot epsom salt bath, massage, yoga class or new outfit can make a huge difference. You’re not being selfish! You’re taking care of you and in turn, will benefit so many around you. When the holiday season is stressful and you’re feeling run down, bump up the self care. It’s good for the body and mind!
Talk to your family and friends and explain that you’ll be doing things differently this year. Share with them that just because it’s the holidays, it doesn’t mean you’re going to settle for nutritionally deprived foods that take more than they give your body. Explain that you’ll be creating some healthy delicious options and offer to share with them, it is the holidays, after all!
Beware of Toxic People
The holidays can bring upon stress when it comes to gatherings with friends and family. We often hear about “tolerating” someone for an event or evening. You may feel uncomfortable being around a group of friends or family members. Whatever the case, choose wisely. Ask yourself if the stress, anxiety and frustration is worth it. I am not saying to isolate yourself from your family and friends, but choose what makes you happy and feel healthy. Maintaining distance and setting limitations or boundaries may better serve you. You should surround yourself with those who light you up and make you happy.
exercise your creativity in the kitchen
Try new and exciting recipes. Splurge and buy expensive superfoods, interesting fresh fruits and vegetables that you don’t always get, nuts and seeds and truffled extra-virgin olive oil. I’ve become a huge fan of speciality oils and balsamic vinegars. I love the incredible flavors and I enjoy cooking more when I use specialty ingredients. If you’re looking to save money on Superfoods, I recommend Amazon and stores like Home Goods and Marshalls.
Healthy food can be totally gourmet and special too. Make your own homemade chocolate with mint leaves and stevia for sweetness. Adorn your salads with pomegranates and walnuts. Go out of your comfort zone and see what healthy meals you can whip up with some new ingredients.
If you’re looking for a SWEET and healthier treat, I welcome you to check out my favorite recipe to share with friends and family during the holidays. Not only is this Bark super easy to make but it’s enjoyed by many! It stores well, looks adorable in a treat bag and is enjoyed just as much when frozen or refrigerated.
I hope you found some value in these tips. Even though they are all important, incorporating a few of them can make a huge difference in your holiday season. This time of the year passes so quickly, so I encourage you to make it a magical, happy time.
Your health and happiness should be a huge priority! You don’t have to wait until the New Year to get started!
P.S. If you’re feeling like you could use a complete RESET from 2020, I welcome you to check out my New Year Nourished You RESET program launching (prep week) on January 4th. Let’s kick start 2021 on a healthy note and RISE in the New Year! Link: New Year Nourished You Reset